Thursday, September 30, 2010

Infants and Sign Language?

A Guest Post

One of the keys to surviving in a tilted economic system is versatility – and the ability to communicate in a variety of ways. This includes bilingual ability, as well as communicating non-verbally for the benefit of the disabled – primarily the deaf.

Now, it may sound a little early to start worrying about your toddler’s odds of getting a job 20 some years from now, but wouldn’t it be nice to help him/her get a head start?

Right now, a growing shortage of qualified interpreters fluent in American Sign Language has led to more career opportunities – and if current trends continue, it's likely that skilled ASL interpreters will have little problem securing lucrative employment in this field.

Signing Before They Can Speak

A great deal of research has demonstrated that the early years – ages 2 to 5 – are the best time to educate children in different modes of communication and language. This goes beyond the spoken word; many young children have an aptitude for signing as well.

This is not as odd as you may think. Many indigenous peoples around the world, including American Indian nations, have used sign language for centuries to communicate with other tribes. Some paleontologists and anthropologists theorize that Neanderthals – who apparently lacked the vocal mechanism to produce many spoken words – depended a great deal upon hand gestures to communicate.

In fact, recent research suggests that sign language is innate. An article published in the Boulder Daily Camera in 2003 presented strong evidence that babies as young as six months old communicate with their hands.

The author also cites a study funded by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, demonstrating that young children who are taught sign language at an early age actually develop better verbal skills as they get older. The ability to sign has also helped parents in communicating with autistic children.

The Best Time To Start

Not only does early childhood education in signing give pre-verbal youngsters a way to communicate, it can also strengthen the parent-child bond – in addition to giving children a solid foundation for learning a skill that will serve them well in the future. The evidence suggests that the best time to start learning ASL is before a child can even walk – and the implications for facilitating the parent-child relationship are amazing.

Co-written by Emily Patterson and Kathleen Thomas

Emily and Kathleen are Communications Coordinators for the network of Texas day care facilities belonging to the AdvancED® accredited family of Primrose day care schools. Primrose Schools are located in 16 states throughout the U.S. and are dedicated to delivering progressive, early childhood, Balanced Learning® curriculum throughout their preschools.

So, I'm ashamed to admit that I haven't been signing with Niall until this week.  I just hadn't really thought about it.  I am definitely going to try it more often (although it will have to be our own little private, non-sensical version for now).  Has anyone out there attempted sign language with your toddler?  Did you find that it worked well?

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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Babies Gone Wild Part 2

It should come as no big surprise that when we received the invitation for baby Jack's first birthday party, I started jumping up and down as if it were my first birthday party.

It was actually Niall's first piece of mail- addressed to him and everything. I may not have even been invited, now that I think about it, but I showed up with the birthday hat and the whole 9 yards anyway ;) Niall and Jack even had opposite green and white striped polo shirts- unplanned, I swear.

Jack got so many cool toys, poor Niall didn't want to leave. He was pleading with his eyes, "Please don't make me leave and go home with those horrible people in that empty house." I thought that milk cartons and remote controls were good enough... but not when you put them next to a fire truck with a water squirting hose and rocking horse with a springing base.

The boys were pretty good about letting us put the birthday hats on them.  But at one point, Jack decided he either didn't want Niall copying his style, or stealing his birthday thunder, or just wanted to strangle him for funsies.  And the elastic around that hat would do just the trick.

Obviously, the best part of the day was watching Jack eat his first cake. He totally went for it. The first thing he tried to grab was the big red icing balloon. Excellent choice, I must say.  I should note, the small cake is for the guests and the giant green train cake is for Jack ;)

Have you ever seen anyone so excited about anything?

And then, when the cake was taken away, he wanted to know just where the heck they were taking his special treat.  Or else he was just saying.... "Good party, I'm out... peace."

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Monday, September 27, 2010

Babies Gone Wild Part 1

I had 2 very important baby events this past weekend, both of which were hysterical. So, needless to say, I have way too much to put into one post. The first one was a reunion with some of my college friends, one of whom has has a 17 month old.

Try to imagine 5 women (it's so weird calling myself a woman, but I guess I can't say girl any more), 2 babies, 2 strollers, and about 12 shopping bags, trying to get situated into a long booth at a crowded restaurant in the mall.

Brooke forgot that she had 3 heavy shopping bags hanging on the handles of her stroller, so when she went to take Landon out, the stroller flew over and blocked the entire walkway. Meanwhile, I'm trying to figure out how to fold up and lock my stroller and jam it under the table somewhere- unsuccessfully.

Once we got situated, Niall was getting antsy in his high chair. I don't know why, but I've found that the best solution in situations like these seems to be cheerios.  I see the moms in church doing it all the time and it's definitely a small miracle worker. So, I give him his "no spill" snack cup and he proceeds to ram his hand in there, grab as many cheerios as he possibly can, and fling them backwards at the people sitting behind us.

At this point, I decided I was in need of a real treat. No salad today. To my vegetarian friends' dismay (who were sitting right next to me), I ordered the "Memphis Burger"... which I'm not particularly proud of. In fact, I may have been a little bit ashamed, and rightfully so.

It consisted of a burger and melted cheese, topped with pulled pork, cole slaw and mayonnaise. Don't knock it til you try it- it was seriously amazing! If you haven't thrown up yet, the thought of little Landon eating straight up ketchup with a spoon might help ;)

It was so cute watching Niall and Landon warm up to each other.  They started playing "foot fives" (AKA footsies) in their strollers, swapping toys, and at one point, Landon decided to hand over his special race car without any barter.  But once he realized what he had done, he immediately regretted it and told Niall to get his paws off!

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Saturday, September 25, 2010

The Clap Monster

A day in the mind of Niall...

What is with these loonies shouting and singing at me all the time? It's like they'll do anything to get me to slap my hands together. What gives? I'll do it... just to get them to shut up, but I don't get the big hype about this whole clapping thing. Whatevs.

So when they wouldn't leave me alone, I started growling and foaming at the mouth to try to scare them away. But it didn't scare them at all.... they just got all up in my face and started wiping my drool bubbles that I worked so hard to make.

So here I am clapping again, just to keep the peace. It ain't easy being a 10 month old.

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Thursday, September 23, 2010

I Want a Treehouse!

I'm slowly starting to remember why it is so much cooler to be a kid than an adult. Seriously, I have more fun doing half of these things than Niall does- and I really wish it was socially acceptable to do them with my friends. Why can't we still build forts, play in tree houses, and throw mud?

Niall and his friend Jack went to the kid's garden in Brookside Gardens last week. (I make it sound like they hopped on their bikes and went alone or something). They had a treehouse, a keebler elf style gnome tree, and an area where kids could dig and plant their own flowers.

The treehouse was so cool. I would honestly live in a treehouse if I could get a good cable connection, hook up a toilet and refrigerator, and run gas and electric through there ;)

I can't wait until we have a house with an awesome back yard. I'm really going to put Matt's manliness to the test. I'll whip out this pic and ask him, "Can't you build Niall a treehouse like the one he used to go to in Brookside Gardens??" It's not that hard, right?

 (It's hard to tell, but this is actually up about 10 feet in the air)

Unfortunately, Niall and Jack are both a little too young to understand, nevermind appreciate, the concept of a treehouse and/or a kid's garden. They both thoroughly enjoyed shoving dirt and acorns in their mouths, though.

We just couldn't possibly prevent the amount of soil consuming that went on that day. We would try to finger sweep it out of there, but they were already swallowing it by the time we got in there.

Jack looked like he ate a fistful of oreos. He was flashing a huge smile and there was brown sludge smeared all across his face. I just don't see how dirt can taste good, but they certainly thought so.

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Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Monday, September 20, 2010

Spoon Feeding Boycott

Who would have thought that a baby could have such a strong opinion about something? Especially something that he had no problem with 2 weeks ago.

Apparently, Niall is no longer going to partake in this "ridiculous self spoon feeding charade." I put that in quotes because that's the message he's sending out through his stone cold, increasingly bored and agitated, "get that spoon out of my face right now" eyes. (I have newly discovered baby psychic abilities).

A few weeks ago, I wrote about our first attempt to let Niall try to put the spoon in his mouth-- and aside from the yogurt splattered all over the wall, he did a great job. Over the next couple of weeks, he kept getting better and better, to the point where he was barely making a mess.

Then, out of nowhere, he decided that he was not interested last week... which continued into this week. It has now been 10 days since he's allowed me to put the spoon in his hand.  I'll try to give it to him, and he'll do one of these 3 things:
  • throw the spoon across the room (with the food flying off of it)


  • physically remove his body from the spoon by pulling away as hard as he can, with his hands behind his head


  • push against my hand as hard as he can when I try to hold it with him and guide him through it...and let me tell you, he's just as strong as me- the force between the two of us keeps the spoon perfectly in the middle until it pops out

So, now what?  Am I going to be stuck spoon feeding him myself until he's 5 years old?

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Friday, September 17, 2010

Co-sleeping Scare

Last night, Niall was having a rough time with those top teeth that are about to pop through. I usually go in and rub his back for a little bit and he falls back to sleep. But last night, he was pretty hysterical.

I'm all about everything in moderation. I try not to put Niall in bed with us too often, but if he needs some extra love and cuddling, I'm all for it. The problem is, I can never fall asleep when he's in there with us. I have to shove my arms down by my sides since his little head is right there, I can't stretch out or get comfortable, and I always have to keep that mommy alarm on in the back of my mind not to roll over on him.

So, I just lay there with him and wait for him to fall back to sleep, and then take him back in the crib. It usually takes about 30 min. But last night, he was not having it. He would lay there somewhat still, but he was just gargling and looking around and touching my face. After about an hour, I must have drifted back to sleep...

...without setting the mommy alarm in my head- or letting daddy know that Niall was in there! Now, I remember learning that the only time you have to worry about co-sleeping is if you are drunk or obese. Well, I guess they should add "completely sleep deprived and/or violent spooner" to the list.

I couldn't believe it when I woke up at 6:15 and Niall was still in bed with us. I was actually pleasantly surprised that both of us went back to sleep without me even noticing. Until Matt broke the news...

Matt always rolls over at some point in the night and violently shoves his pillow into the mattress and starts spooning it. I've seen it first hand. Well, Niall was right there underneath it. He said that he must have been like that for at least 5 seconds when he felt struggling. He quickly picked up the pillow and found Niall still kind of asleep, but fighting to get out from under the pillow. Matt swears that all of his body weight was on him.

After he made sure Niall was ok, he turned over and went back to sleep. Meanwhile, I'm completely dead to the world through the whole thing. 5 minutes later... Daddy does the same thing again!

I almost died. I can't even think about what would have happened if Niall weren't as feisty as he is. Some babies would have just gone on sleeping through it and never even struggled. If he hadn't fought... I won't even go there. I just can't. We gave the co-sleeping thing a shot and it ain't for us, that's all I can say.

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Thursday, September 16, 2010

It's a Social Parade!

Join the social parade every Friday to find more followers and some new blogs to read...

Smart and Trendy Moms

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Mr. Clean, Mr. Clean

I think I may just have myself a domesticated house baby. Like a real, state of the art housewife... but a baby. When I busted out the vacuum yesterday, he took the bull by the horns and decided to show me how it's really done.

At first, he was a little bit intimidated by the giant metal snake chasing him around the room... but he eventually built up the courage to confront this loud, obnoxious intruder.

He went from hiding under the dining room table to suddenly grabbing the vacuum out of my hands and whipping those floors into the most spic 'n span shape they've ever seen... and then decided he was more interested in playing with the mess of tangled wires.

I'm not really sure if he was trying to break the thing or imitate what I was doing with it... but whatever it was, it did the job!  I may have to get him a toy vacuum to satisfy his cleaning addiction.

How's that for getting a kid started on chores early?

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Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Who, me?

I always see people winning blog awards and I have no idea where they come from or how you get them. I just assumed that I wouldn't have to worry about it, because an award would not be coming my way any time soon.

But to my surprise and delight, Jamarah Crafty Creations was nice enough to send the "One Lovely Blog Award" my way. I'm really honored!

So now, I get to send it to some great bloggers that I've come across over the last few months.  I'm really happy to be able to give this to some truly award-worthy blogs that I love reading every day.

These blogs are what I would call "unsung heroes."  They don't have 500+ followers, but they certainly deserve to.  I hope you'll go visit them all when you have a chance.

Bloggers, to accept this award, follow these steps:

1. Post the award on your blog with the name of the person who has granted the award and his or her blog link.

2. Pay it forward to 15 other bloggers that you have newly discovered.

3. Contact those blog owners and let them know they've been chosen.


Here are the winners:

1) Rock 'n Stroll
2) The Magnusons
3) The Mommyhood Memos
4) This Lovely Life
5) Teagan Tales
6) Chunky and Monkey
7) Momalogues
8) Mommy Boots
9) Mommy Loves Coffee
10)  My Three Bubs
11) Nater Tot
12) The Chronicles of a Housewife
13) Remember Ember
14) Somebody's Parents
15) Tales from the Crib

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Wordless Wednesday


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